Use Your Head!
“Don’t be nitpickers; use your head — and heart! — to discern what is right, to test what is authentically right.” (John 7:24 MSG)
Jesus was a man of great discernment, and if we want to be like him, we have to allow the Holy Spirit to teach us discernment. Having discernment means you evaluate things. You don’t just automatically accept what somebody tells you. You check it out.You don’t get sucked in by popular culture. Even if it’s mentioned on a talk show or a magazine cover or if everybody says it’s cool, you still check it out.
You ask questions like, “Is this the truth? Does this square with reality? How does this fit into God’s worldview?”
In Romans 12:2, the apostle Paul says, “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God .… Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it” (MSG). That’s a snapshot of discernment at work in your life.
In John 7:24, Jesus says, “Don’t be nitpickers; use your head — and heart! — to discern what is right, to test what is authentically right.” This is Jesus teaching discernment. In essence, he’s saying, “I don’t want you to be a nitpicker — sort of like a legalistic crank, who runs around criticizing everything. But I do expect you to use your brain and to not just automatically believe everything you hear or see.”
We need to learn to discern and be aware of what we’re allowing into our minds. Let me ask you a couple of questions: Do you believe everything you read in the newspaper? How about everything you read in magazines, or hear on the radio, or watch on TV? What about the Bible? Do you believe everything that God says is true?
Then, here’s the question I ask myself sometimes: Why do we spend more time listening, watching, and reading something we don’t believe than something we do?
That’s why we need to live with discernment. In Luke 11:35, the Bible says, “Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness” (NLT).
Talk It Over
If you used discernment to evaluate what you read, listen to, and watch, what would change about how you spend your time?
Why do you think we spend more time listening, watching, and reading something we don’t believe than something we do?
by Rick Warren
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